A while ago I was weeding the garden. It was only because I was kneeling down that, behind the bright pink, showy blooms of an azalea, I spotted a beautiful little primrose with its perfectly formed, delicate yellow flowers in full bloom. It was so hidden behind the shrub that if I had been standing up, I wouldn’t have noticed it. In fact, its flowers might have come and gone without anyone noticing – yet this little plant didn’t decide it wasn’t worth bothering this year! Despite its position it had still grown and blossomed to its full potential, giving glory back to its Creator God.
Into my mind came a phrase someone wrote under a picture of a flower they painted on one of our creativity courses: ‘Blooming for You, Lord, wherever You plant me’. I remember thinking what a lovely heart that person had – they just wanted to bless their Lord – they weren’t looking for a position or a place … to be noticed or seen by anyone else.
For a long time in my own life I was driven by such a need. I desperately wanted to be noticed! And if I wasn’t, I always took it personally. What a gracious, merciful God we have. He didn’t condemn me, but helped me to see the life of striving for what it was – a life of bondage, not the abundant life Jesus won for me, and I began to long to get to that place of true contentment, knowing His peace and joy - whether I was in the limelight or not! I saw this life in others. One friend in particular, too incapacitated to get out, spent her time interceding for others involved in God’s work, and blessing her family in any way she could from the confines of her own home. Like the primrose, she wasn’t concerned with being noticed and earning approval.
I repented of trying to get my hidden, inner needs met my own way, and saw that I needed to begin to actively receive my heavenly Father’s love and acceptance in the place where I carried the scars of rejection and abandonment from the past. This was the key. And for my responses and behaviour to really change, I realised I needed to keep on actively receiving God’s love day by day by day for the rest of my life! It wasn’t easy at first - I had to work at it: feeding my spirit with good spiritual nourishment – giving time to listening to music, meditating on Bible verses and reading books that would feed the truth of God’s unconditional love and acceptance into my inner being. Ultimately it was looking to God instead of others (although He sometimes worked through others) that brought major healing in my life, and still today daily brings me a little bit closer to being like that primrose: simply blossoming for Him wherever He plants me.
One book that particularly inspired me (and still does) is the story of Mary Slessor - the determined, yet quiet Scottish girl who went to Calabar in Africa for many years, to take the Gospel message to the then very wild indigenous people. For many years she shone for Jesus, bringing His glorious light into that very dark place, yet whenever she came home to Scotland, although strong in her faith she was the same quiet, unassuming person she always was. She did what she did for Jesus – not for any personal accolade, and through her the lives of many were rescued from near-death and utterly transformed. Her life truly reflected much glory back to her wonderful Saviour.
Prayer: Lord, please forgive me for the mixed and hidden motives behind the things I do. I don’t want to be striving for others’ approval. Please help me to find ways of receiving Your acceptance and taking in Your love, so that my responses will come more and more out of a heart attitude of gratitude to You, and a desire to serve You wherever I am and give glory back to You. Amen.
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